The daily deals market is still a bit chaotic, but as I mentioned recently, it’s opening up opportunities for companies that can make sense of it all. That’s true of CityPockets, a New York startup that offers a digital wallet for storing past deal offers as well as a secondary market for buying and selling discounts.
The service, which can organize daily deals from about 30 sites including Groupon, Living Social, BuyWithMe, Tippr and others, has been on a roll lately, raising $735,000 in June and last month buying DealBurner, a deal aggregator service that pushes out text messages on nearby daily deals to people who check-in on Foursquare and Facebook Places.
Now the service is improving its new iPhone and Android mobile applications by bringing over its daily deals marketplace from its website, so users can not only manage their daily deals from a smartphone but also buy them on the go. CityPockets is also allowing users to store their credit card data on their mobile app to easily buy deals without using PayPal. And users can now search for nearby secondary deals on their mobile app based on location and category.
It’s a nice set of improvements that gives daily deals users a comprehensive mobile tool to organize their daily deals and obtain new ones on the fly. Right now, the average CityPockets user has 24 vouchers from three daily deal sites, with nine of the deals still active. CityPockets currently has more than 110,000 vouchers that are worth close to $6 million and its collection of deals is growing about 35 percent month over month.
I talked with Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of CityPockets, and she said the key is to enable instant buying of daily deals from a mobile phone. Right now, customers of daily deal sites must wait a day to redeem a daily deal. But with CityPockets’ mobile app, they can find other past deals that are nearby that users are putting up for sale which can be redeemed immediately. And they can also search for specific past deals that they might have missed out on, put up for sale by users who can’t take advantage of them.
Tools like CityPockets are helpful, especially in a market awash with daily deal sites. Users are getting overwhelmed by offers and some are unsubscribing from services. Yeoh said users on average let 20-30 percent of their deals expire because they forget about them or can’t redeem in time. Being able to get updates on their deal expiration dates and also find and buy new ones provides more utility to daily deals. You can see when you need to use them, can put them up for sale when they’re not likely to be used, and you can find things on the go that others are putting up for sale.
Groupon and Living Social are also rolling out instant mobile deals, and that’s something CityPockets can also take advantage of through its purchase of DealBurner. But being able to tap into a secondary market for deals on the go is attractive because users can now see not only new but also older, resold deals that can be redeemed instantly.
It’s still early days for the daily deals market, but if it can survive and thrive, it won’t just be Groupon or Living Social that win out. Companies like CityPockets can also succeed by bringing some order, utility and mobility to this fast-growing market.